Plagiarism can be perplexing. We all know it violates all the possible academic norms and writers’ ethics and entails legal consequences, being considered a crime.

At the same time, we are being warned against accidental plagiarism, which we can be susceptible to without any intention to cheat. How can we so easily err in something so serious?

Let’s see how accidental plagiarism happens, what can be done to avoid it, and how a plagiarism checker can help.

What is Accidental Plagiarism

Plagiarizing means stealing someone’s words or ideas, copying them, and presenting them as one’s own. When we plagiarise accidentally, we do the same thing without realizing it.

What is wrong with accidental plagiarism?

It is still considered plagiarism, which is a misdeed. Accidental copying entails the same consequences as an intentional one. Imagine that somebody stole your wallet. It will hardly improve the situation if the offender says, “I didn’t intend to do that. It was accidental,” won’t it?

What are the consequences of plagiarism?

In the academy, unveiled plagiarism leads to low grades, jeopardized reputation, and broken trust between teachers and students. It also puts the image of the whole institution at risk, which is why professors are meticulous in verifying the originality of the papers. Expulsion and the doctorate revocation, even years after publication, are the actual consequences plagiarisers face after the cheating has been revealed.

In the creative domain and business, plagiarism cases are often taken to court. People accused of stealing the ideas have to pay financial compensation, not to mention reputational losses and moral damages.

What can Cause Accidental Plagiarism

Unintentional plagiarism is not unique, so there is nothing wrong with you if you realize you have borrowed someone’s ideas. What is crucial is to notice and recognize accidental copying before you publish or submit your writing. What are the thin-ice situations you should pay close attention to?

  • You study various sources and need to summarize them in one paper. It is likely that you recreate some situations or concepts word for word. Take a fresh look at your text to ensure it has some valuable information instead of retelling the content of your sources.
  • Your writing is composed from scratch but sounds suspiciously familiar. We tend to pick the concepts and phrases from the works we read and analyze. No wonder you may use some of them, completely forgetting the source and mistaking the idea for your own. If it rings the bell, you’d better double-check.
  • You have consulted AI to help you with the essay. Chat GPT, Google Bard, and other AI chatbots generate their writing based on the information they can access. So, they do produce unoriginal content, which can cause plagiarism-related problems. Be cautious, use AI tools in an honest manner, and check the result for originality.

Read more examples of accidental plagiarism. Sometimes plagiarising is a pure coincidence when different people have the same idea! Originality-checking tools can help deal with such situations.

Tips to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism

  • Scan your paper for originality with a plagiarism checker. It is the first essential step to detect the issue. A plagiarism-checking tool can show similarities even when you write from scratch. It means accidental copying has been uncovered, which is good news! Now, you can eliminate the problem before anyone else has discovered it.
  • Analyze the sources. You may have recreated the situations described too thoroughly, given too many details, or forgotten to mention the author. Add your personal touch (examples, new engle, or your reflections) where you can and attribute the sources when you want to preserve the idea as it is. Use the citation generator to help you with proper attribution!
  • Use AI tools with caution. Ask chatbots for information, but never consider Chat GPT an instrument that can do your task instead of you. Double-check the data you get from AI, don’t copy-paste the answers, and always scan the final text for plagiarism. multi-tool solution includes Plagiarism Detector, Сhat GPT checker, Citation Generator, Grammar Checker, browser extensions, and Google Docs add-on. Ensure your writing expresses your uniqueness to its fullest – and we are here to help!